Opinion: Is Democracy on the ballot?

Nov 6, 2022, 8:10 AM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 1:53 pm

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — We did a story earlier this week on Utah’s Morning News on KSL NewsRadio about the number of election deniers who are on the ballot in the nation this Tuesday. I believe the number was around 300, although it’s a fluid thing as candidates sometimes back away from former claims. Shortly after we did the story, a listener texted KSL and asked, “How do you define an election denier?”

The question made me pause for a moment. I can see how people who are supportive of candidates who have been labeled election deniers would push back on that term. I replied, “My understanding is an election denier is someone who disputes the confirmed results of the vote.”

It’s that simple for me. It’s not about who you blame for inflation, who handles immigration better, whether abortion should be legal or any other issue. If you deny an election, you refuse to accept the outcome of the vote. Because more than 300 candidates across the country do not recognize the outcome of the 2020 election, even after 60 court challenges, democracy is, indeed, on the ballot.

But not in every race. In Utah, I am only aware of two candidates who have spoken openly disputing the outcome of the previous election – Burgess Owens, running for re-election in the 4th Congressional District, and Goud Maragani, Republican running for Salt Lake County Clerk. FiveThirtyEight, a data based website that looks at politics and other issues, includes Chris Stewart in the list of election deniers, but he has rebutted those claims. Mike Lee and Blake Moore accepted the results of the election, but expressed reservations.

What is important to understand is that, even though all 300 of the election deniers are Republican, not every Republican is an election denier. John Curtis, congressman in Utah’s 3rd District, fully accepted the election results. That, let’s be clear, does not mean he was happy about the outcome. There are millions of Republicans who were disappointed Joe Biden won the election but accepted the decision of the people. Similarly, there were millions of Democrats who were heartbroken Donald Trump won in 2016. They could not imagine or understand how Americans could support him, but they accepted the will of the people.

This is where Democracy is on the ballot. If you vote for a candidate who denies the results of an election because, like candidate for governor in Arizona Kari Lake you simply cannot believe it’s possible not all Arizonans think as you do, you are supporting a candidate who is telling you – she will not uphold the decision of the people if she doesn’t agree with it.

At its core, what is our democratic republic based on? What was the genius of the founding fathers that has kept our country prosperous these 246 years? Unlike dictatorships or theocracies or communist regimes, we believe in the integrity of the vote and the peaceful transfer of power that follows. We believe power resides in the people, and not any one group of Americans. Don’t forget, they have elections in Russia and China and Venezuela. They just do not protect the integrity of the vote in those countries. If we elect election deniers in the United States, how long do you think it will be until our elections are the shams we witness in those regimes, where the outcome is predetermined by people in positions of power?

So, if you are like me and have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents in your voting life, if you are committed to democracy and freedom, then vote for candidates from whatever party you choose for whatever reasons you choose, but do NOT vote for candidates who are telling us they will not protect the sanctity of our democracy.

It’s that simple.

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Opinion: Is Democracy on the ballot?